New Mycoplasma bovis find on Southland farm

25 properties have now tested positive for cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. Photo / File
25 properties have now tested positive for cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. Photo / File

A dairy farm outside Invercargill is the latest to be confirmed as infected by the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

The farm received animals from two separate properties already known to be infected, the Ministry for Primary Industry said yesterday.

It brings to 25 the number of properties to have tested positive, all but one of which are in the South Island.

Industry bodies this week committed $11.2 million towards funding the operational costs of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak response.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has estimated that total operational costs of $35 million and compensation liabilities of $60 million will be required until a decision on whether or not to eradicate the disease is made.

It was expected a decision on eradication would be made in late March to early April.

Bulk milk testing and animal tracing was key to that.

Since the disease was first detected in New Zealand, on a property near Waimate, in July last year, MPI has spent $10 million on the operational response and $2.5 million on compensation claims.

Funding of $85 million for operational and compensation costs, beginning July 1, 2017 to the end of the current financial year, was approved by Cabinet this week, after $10 million was approved in December.

DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association's decision to give $11.2 million towards operational costs was a sign of a ''healthy Government-industry relationship'', Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said.

It allowed the ministry to continue to contain the disease to determine its full spread, keeping the option of eradication open until that decision was made in a few weeks, Mr O'Connor said.

Significant work was under way to look at the technical feasibility of eradication and cost benefit of eradication versus long-term management. Either option would require additional funding, he said.

Mr O'Connor had also asked officials to explore the feasibility and implications of making the North Island Mycoplasma bovis free, given the large majority of infected properties were in the South Island.

Before this latest find in Southland, there had been 24 active infected properties, including a newly identified property in Mid Canterbury.

It was a lifestyle dry stock grazing property which was a trace from a known infected property.

Of those 30 properties, 4 separate farm blocks (owned by one farmer in Southland) have been made into a single IP for management purposes, resulting in 27 IPs.

Further, 2 properties have been depopulated, cleaned, and their legal restrictions lifted, making a total of 25 active IPs.

The regional breakdown of total IPs from the start of the response (some have since been cleared) is:

Canterbury – 2 (1 active)
Hawkes' Bay (near Hastings) – 1
Mid-Canterbury (Ashburton) – 3
South Canterbury/North Otago (Waitaki and Waimate Districts) – 11 (10 active)
Otago (Middlemarch) – 1
Southland (Winton, Lumsden, Invercargill, Gore) – 9

- additional reporting NZN

- Otago Daily Times

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